Believe me, if I had the chance to immigrate to Europe, I would do it. The years of GW Bush were ugly enough (and many of us are still freaked out about things), and then I still have US health care to deal with. This situation with healthcare goes back way before GW Bush, and its something you hear about from time to time. It can take a normally prosperous family and strip them of literally everything they have before any kind of government assistance kicks in. By then its financial ruin and all of the emotional trauma that can cause heaped on top of unplayable medical bills.
An effective system should not allow that to happen.
My COBRA coverage got pulled at about the 1/2 point because my old company was small and both of the spouses had coverage, so at the annual renew time, they just stopped offering health.
After talking with an Insurance rep that I have used for company insurance at a few places, it became clear that my family and I would NEVER get personal health insurance. Currently, I suffer from chronic foot pain (for the past 6 years), my oldest son suffers from depression and bi-polar disorder (for the past 4 years), and my wife gets migraines (from childhood). You can see why an insurance company would not want to touch us, but we still need insurance.
As my COBRA ran out my agent tried to get us on a temporary plan. We know that if we claim the meds that my son and I require, $2,000 to $3000 a month, we will also not be allowed to re-up the temp plan. We decided that we would not claim any of the chronic things that we have to deal with so that we have the plan if we have a major issue, but once we do, we no for sure that we will not be allowed to re-up.
For the temp plan we went with a carrier that haven't been covered by for over 12 years. But we were denied coverage by this carrier because they had on record that...
1) My wife had been treated for headaches.
2) One of my 2 sons had been treated for a sore throat.
OVER10 YEARS AGO!!
Those 2 reasons were all that it took to deny even temporary coverage.
We had to find a carrier that had never insured me and my family before just to get temp insurance.
We are still looking for a permanent option, but as we do our savings are being drained rapidly as we try and cover our ongoing issues. We need to minimize claims to preserve our temp insurance in case of a major issue. Because of that none of us are getting any ongoing treatment, so no one is getting any better. Were stuck with little chance at improving medically, and at this point we have not found an insurer who will offer us insurance at any price.
If you have now, or have ever had anything more that a minor medical issue, your chance of getting coverage as an individual are effectively 0%
I have been looking for work for 2 years, sending out, and following up on at least a dozen job openings ever month (12 is my self imposed min). While the economy is bad I have no idea if I will be able to get a job, and while I am in this catch 22 I am spending more and more of my time trying to find coverage.
In the mean time, I have one of my cars for sale, family jewelry is listed, and while our house is not under water, real estate is not exactly booming either.
I dunno. Does my government really want me to be broke, unemployed, and perhaps homeless, before I can get health care for my family?
Or can they come up with some way for people to purchase coverage, to allow them to get healthy, before they loose everything?
During tough economic times, people tend to look for items that will last and provide greater value over time. In my experience an Apple macboook pro has proved to be very rugged and functional over time. Any equivalent Laptop I have owned has lasted 2 years before it was obsolete or falling apart, where as a Mac will last 4+ before I upgrade out of one. I haven't been shopping laptops recently, $2(X) > X=$500 for anything over a $500.
"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll